On ears…

I was walking away from the Tv playing in the lunch room when I noticed the sharp reduction in television volume when I had turned around. Instantaneously I noticed what had been in front of me for nearly 23 years or rather what had been beside me. Human ears are uniquely shaped to funnel in sound most efficiently from the direction in which the person is facing. By contrast, if you’ve ever seen a deer’s ears you know that they face sidways and can swivel to a certain angle towards the front and back. I thought a little more and came to the conclusion that this was just another example of predator/prey biology. Lions, bears, and other predatory animals I could think of also had them facing forward. Elephants were another gargantuan example of prey having ears that faced to the side. This, of course, makes it harder for predators to sneak up on prey from behind. Of course, prey already have the advantage of having their eyes close to (or on, in some cases) side of their head, allowing them to see to the side and, in some cases, backwards. I cannot figure out, however, why it would be advantageous for predators to have their ears facing forward. Perhaps, the same way that having both eyes facing forward allows for stereoscopic vision, having the ears facing forward gives the predator a 3D auditory experience. I can’t see a real benefit for this in humans, but for animals with hearing far stronger than we do, perhaps it provides them with additional details about their enviroment. Just another example of the wonderful design of the Creator who strives, it seems, to make an equal playing field. Neither predator nor prey seems to have an advantage – and that’s a good thing. Otherwise either the predators would eat all the prey or the prey would multiply too numerously. Neither outcome would be good for the environment.

Published by Eric Mesa

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